The time that followed the Civil War from 1865-1877 was a period of Reconstruction.
This term not only refers to the reconstruction of cities and buildings but also of southern politics as well. There was a kind of reconstruction that brought major reforms to the South. It was called Radical Reconstruction. During the period of Radical Reconstruction, the Radical Republicans and President Andrew Johnson were in almost constant disagreement. President Johnson favored a more hands-off approach than the Radicals were willing to accept.
When the Civil War ended there remained the question of what to do with the Southern states. In 1864 there were many little groups in the Senate. One of there groups was called the Radical Republicans. In 1865 when President Johnson allied himself with the racists, he said that the South should remain a white mans country.
The majority of the Senate then sided with the Radicals because they said that this is not a white mans government, but a mans government. The Radicals won control of the Senate because of this statement. By 1865 the conflict between the politicians on Johnsons side, called Johnsonians, and the Radical Republicans had reached the war point. Both sides were throwing false accusations back and forth across Washington.
The Johnsonian accused the majority of Radicals that they did not really care about the Freedman, but were using him for their own political agendas. The Johnsonians went further by accusing the Radicals of outright conscious hypocrisy. Pg. 2In 1866 the Radicals had become the majority party in the House and Senate and taken over the responsibility of Reconstruction from the President. Their first move was to ratify the Southern governments put in by Johnson and start anew. The Radicals felt that instead of choosing what was best for the states, Johnson had just been putting people back into office.
With Johnsons statement before about a white mans government the Radicals felt that by revamping Johnsons state governments was the only way to insure fairness. By 1865 major land reforms were underway in the south. In 1865 General Sherman resettled some 40,000 Freedmen on the South Carolina and Georgias offshore islands. Some were also resettled on to abandon rice fields.
Sherman presented his results to the Senate and they were pleased. Then President Johnson stepped in and personally saw to it that most of the land was returned to its original owners. In late 1865 1,800 Freedmen were resettled along the Mississippi river at a place called Davis bend. Davis bend incorporated six former plantations, including one owned by Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy president, and another was owned by his brother.
In the one season that the Freedmen lived their they made about $157,000 profit between all of them. This proved that the Freedmen could make it on their own if given the land. But after the one season President Johnson pardoned the land owners and their land was returned. On January 7, 1867 the House of Representatives looked into conduct issues of President Andrew Johnson.
On June 3, 1867 by a vote of 5-4 the House subcommittee voted not to recommend impeachment. Then Pg. 3President Johnson on June 20, 1867 issued orders that made the military commanders in the southern five districts less powerful, and the Johnson appointed local government more powerful. With this decision by Johnson the vote was over turned by a vote of 5-4 in favor of recommendation for impeachment. On December 7,1867 the House rejected the impeachment resolution by a vote of 108-57.
Then Johnson attempted to remove the radical Stanton from the position of Secretary of War. Then Johnson appointed General Grant to the post. When the Senate refused to accept Stantons removal, Grant sides behind the Senate. President Johnson publicly denounced General Grant for his apparent treachery. Then on February 21,1868 Johnson appointed General Lorenzo Thomas as the new Secretary of War. Stanton, encouraged by the Radical Republicans, barricades himself inside the offices of the War Department.
Johnson’s attempt to remove Stanton from office was a violation of the Tenure of Office Act. On February 24, 1868 the Senate, by a vote of 126-47, resolves That Andrew Johnson, President of the United Stated of America, be impeached of high crimes .